Golf: turmoil around the LIV circuit reaches the Ryder Cup

Henrik Stenson a été démis de ses fonctions de capitaine de l’équipe européenne pour la Ryder Cup 2023, sur fond de rumeurs l’envoyant sur le circuit LIV, nouvelle illustration des secousses ébranlant le golf depuidente la issalisout de cueette ‘Saudi Arab.

The European Cup Ryder announced in a press release on Wednesday that the mandate of the 46-year-old Swedish golfer, who was appointed to the job last March, has expired with “immediate effect”.

“Given the decisions made by Henrik in relation to his personal situation, it has become apparent that he cannot fulfill some of the binding contractual terms of the Ryder Cup Europe,” the press release continues, without further details.

The Ryder Cup Europe concluded with the “timely confirmation of the new European Captain’s name for the 2023 Ryder Cup”.

Media reported that Stenson, who did not immediately react, was about to join the controversial LIV Golf, a league backed financially by Saudi Arabia. Participation in this league’s inaugural tournament recently led to the exclusion of European golfers who participated in it from three tournaments on the European circuit (DP World Tour).

Being a member of the DR World Tour is exactly a sine qua non to be able to be part of the European Ryder Cup team opposing the United States.

Henrik Stenson, the first Swede to be named captain of Europe, had a long history in this biennial competition that pits American and European golfers into teams of twelve. He helped the Europeans win three of his five matches (2006, 2014 and 2018) and was deputy captain in 2020.

Swedish golfer Henrik Stenson celebrates after winning the British Open, July 17 2016 at Royal Troon Racecourse (Scotland) (AFP / ARCHIVES – GLYN KIRK)

Winner of the British Open in 2016, Stinson ranked second in the world, although he is now ranked 171.

His appointment as captain of the European Ryder Cup team appears to have put an end to the speculation surrounding his possible participation in the LIV golf course. “I am fully committed to this captain (…), I will do everything I can to ensure that we have a winning team in Rome,” he said at the time.

– ‘Take the money’ –

The next edition of the Ryder Cup will be held in Rome from September 25 to October 1, 2023. Team USA won the last edition of the prestigious team competition in Whistling Straits (Wisconsin) in September 2021.

Having missed the cut at the last British Open last week, Stenson admitted his upcoming schedule remains “uncertain”, and appears to cast doubt on his future.

South Africa's Charles Schwartzell poses with LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman of Australia after winning the inaugural LIV Golf International Series on June 11, 2022 at the Centurion Club course in St Alban, England (AFP / Archives - Adrian DENNIS)
South Africa’s Charles Schwartzell poses with LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman of Australia after winning the inaugural LIV Golf International Series on June 11, 2022 at the Centurion Club course in St Alban, England (AFP / Archives – Adrian DENNIS)

Several big names in golf have already joined the ring with the support of Saudi Arabia and their removal from former world No. 1 Greg Norman, drawing the ire of DP World as well as of the US circuit, the PGA, such as Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Charles Schwarzl, Sergio Garcia or Graeme McDowell.

Several human rights organizations also criticized the new department, which was found only to restore the international image of Saudi Arabia from its point of view, a phenomenon known as “sports washing”. In the United States, associations of relatives of 9/11 victims who consider Saudi Arabia to be complicit in the attacks have also stepped up.

Since the inception of this league, which has contested its talent-rich three-day, 54-hole championships versus four days and 72 holes in the “regular” tournament, moreover, the two historic circuits have united, and in particular vowed over the course of 13 years to increase the suspensions of their competitions or Allow golfers from the European circuit to pass on the PGA Tour.

Former US President Donald Trump on Monday entered the fray, urging golfers to “take the money” and join the LIV Tour he is hosting at two tournaments on his owned courses this year.

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